A Guy. A Camera. A City

I am going to start a new series to show the photos I take. Living in a City like Chicago I am always surrounded by amazing inspiration for the art I create. I often have my camera with me and will snap photos of things I find interesting. 

Reflections at Millennium Park

Train tracks at the Art Institute 

In the gardens surrounding the Art Institute 

Found this in a garden at the Art Institute 

Love the contrast

The entrance of the Roosevelt Theater

Iconic Chicago Summer

Love the texture

Just a fun picture

Again love the texture


This morning at park I went with a very raw look for the music segment of our service. The rest of the service had our usual look. I side lit the coroplast shapes with 3 source four par cans from either side of the stage. I also aimed 1 source four par can up into the structure from both sides. In the house I turned up the bare bulb fixtures higher than normal to provide an very ambient feel. All of this together provided a very raw warehouse feel. My favorite part of the day were the cues that took us back to a theatrical feel, it was really cool to watch the room transform it’s self.


Balance. Life is filled with always having to balance priorities, this is an area that I have always struggled with. Historically I will get busy with a project and things start falling off the end of the table. In my mid 20’s I was forced to start balancing this aspect of my life. For me it’s like an addiction, you are never over it you just have to learn to deal with it.

The introduction of a wife brought one more aspect of balance in my life. Although we flowed pretty well. She would spend time and help with projects. This continued until I was 29. That year brought the birth of our son, yet another element to have to balance. All of a sudden my table was getting fuller of things that could not fall off, the price was to high. This kept Simone from hanging out and helping as much.

The next couple of years were pretty smooth. When our son was three we introduced another element to balance. Our daughter was born when I was 32, at the same time my work load increased. I literally felt like I was spinning plates – just going from plate to plate just spending enough time to make sure it did not fall. I missed simple things like playing in the snow, I look at those pictures and still regret it.

I am 35 now and don’t feel like I have made much progress. I am convinced that this is not something that ever gets easier you just have to make daily decisions about where your time is going to go. Maybe by 40 I can get a handle on it…

I wrote this on the plane on my way to be a part of the the Worship Facilities Expo Tech Talk. One of the questions that was asked from the audience was about how we balance work and the rest of our lives. Jill Gille one of the panelist said “I wish I had been brave enough to end the meeting, or just leave” It made me think how many times thing have been rearranged in our personal life because a meeting ran long.

Piper|Carson Event

Last week the Gospel Collation held their annual conference just outside Chicago. For the last evening of the conference everyone was invited to join John Piper and Don Carson at Park Community Church for a discussion titled “the Pastor as a Scholar, and the Scholar as a Pastor”.

Due to the fact that we were just hosting the event we had to put the sponsors logos on the stage behind the speakers so that they were visible on the video. I used our three screen setup from our christmas set except this time I lined up 3 58″ plasmas and used them to display the logos. I moved the computer for the three screens on stage right behind the plasmas, we then covered it with black fabric. Our video room is on the second floor so this kept us from having to add two additional cable runs. I often use remote desktop to control computers so it worked out great.
I added 6 columns three on each side of the stage. I used Coroplast left over from easter. I scored the 4 X 8 sheets every foot and folded into a square then taped the connection corner with white gaff tape. I then cut a slot in the bottom for the cables and placed them over our LED par cans.
This event maxed our our facility, It was fun to see the building overflowing with people. We set up every classroom and public area as overflow and they were all full.


For Good Friday this year we did a short theater piece where a man beat a cross on stage. While he was beating the cross a figure representing Jesus was hanging from a rope on the other side of the stage responding to every blow. During this scene a sin would flash on the wall with every hit.

For Easter Sunday, we took one of the crosses he beat on stage and hung it in a stair case that connects our two main lobbies. The Good Friday theater piece was very moving for a lot of people and they are reminded of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us every time they enter the building.

Got to love it!

Late last August my wife went to visit her parents. I took the opportunity to go see The Dark Knight. I first went to Navy Pier to see it at IMAX but it was sold out. I took a bus to the next closest theater. After the movie I started walking to the L station. It was one of those amazing summer evenings and after seeing Chicago in the Dark Knight it was an amazing feeling to walk down those streets.

On my way home I saw a shoot happening on lower Michigan Ave. I wandered down that way and snapped a couple of pics on my phone. They had wrapped for the night and the cast was leaving when I got there. I often wondered what they were shooting. There was a CTA bus down there so I thought it may have been an ad for CTA.
Today I was sitting in Joseph’s office and we were listening to The Fray’s ‘You found me’. We were talking about the video so he pulled it up on You Tube. I saw them on the bridge and knew what it was. I had been there and seen the set up.
I love living in the city. I love the crazy things you stumble upon.

They shot this on top of 311 Wacker. It is the building Jazz, my 6 year old, can see out of his window and judges whether it’s bedtime by whether the light is on or off.


Easter at park was fairly low key short service. We did 4 services at our main campus and one at our Lincoln Park Campus.

I used 4X8 sheets of white coroplast hung by black chain to create the reflective surface for the center projector. I also treated the entire room with a breakup pattern in an amber color.
We also did baptism as part of our easter service we have always done it at the lake during the summer and baptize a large number of people. We have started doing them in small numbers. I was against each person sharing their testimony but in the end think we should always do small numbers so they can share. This became a real family moment and people connected on an emotional level to each of the people being baptized.

Good Friday

The set for Good Friday had to provide space for the band to play and for a short theater piece. The band was small keys, electric, drums, acoustic, and violin. The theater piece consisted of a cross that we created out of metal studs that would be beaten with a metal pipe and a rope with a hook on the end for a Jesus character to hang on.

I wanted to create a oppressive feel in the room. The ceiling of bulbs above the band made the space feel small and closed in. This was done with sockets from IKEA and 90w par 38 spot bulbs. I rented 4 MAC 700 wash and 4 MAC 700 profile fixtures.
As the cross was being beaten we flashed sins with our center projector on the wall above the ceiling of bulbs.
It was cool how the cords for the bulbs became a piece of art when his from the sides with a rotating pattern.


We shot a promo for program called Alpha the other day.
The actress, Kirby O’Connell, that came in to do the promo was fighting a cold at the time. After we shot the footage we noticed there was a “glisten” in her right nostril in some of the shots. It was very noticeable in three of the shots. we were short on time to get it turned around for the weekend. I spent a couple of hours Saturday tracking the “glisten” and applying a circle blur to remove it.

This is the unedited promo

This is the motion tracking for the circle blur
This is the final edit of the promo.